Here are Untapped Cities’ favorite abandoned spots in New York City and the surrounding area. Some are break-in-able, some open to the public, some only for the intrepid. It features some great summer escapes like Fort Totten, Dead Horse Bay and Bannerman’s Island, as well as some great winter expeditions. Some places are harder to access, like Glenwood Power Plant and the Gowanus Batcave (both of which have recently been closed off for gutting/renovation, North Brother Island, and some of the abandoned theaters.
North Brother Island is an island of rich history: a smallpox hospital in the 1850s, where Typhoid Mary died, a home to WWII veterans, and a drug center in the 1950s. It’s now abandoned and off limits to the public. See more.
19. Hart Island
The 101-acre Hart Island serves as the city’s last potter’s field, for the unclaimed dead or those whose families couldn’t afford a funeral. The island is uninhabited today, but more than 800,000 have been buried there since 1869, making it the largest tax-funded cemetery in the world. Have a look into the crumbling women’s asylum as well.
Observant riders of the JMZ lines are likely to have noticed a curious open space alongside the tracks at the Delancey/Essex subway station, the location for the proposed Lowline park. This dark and seemingly vacant 60,000 square foot lot is a remnant of New York City’s trolley era and dates back to 1903. Read more.
Photo by Wasabi Bob via Flickr
The now-barren subterranean space once served as a means to transport the Waldorf-Astoria’s more famous guests discreetly, including supposedly General Pershing and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It also supposedly served as an underground party space for Andy Warhol in 1965. Read more.
Photo by Will Ellis.
A beautiful decommissioned subway stop sits below City Hall Park park. See it on a tour with the Transit Museum or stay on the 6 train after Brooklyn Bridge station. See more.
13. Seaview Hospital, Staten Island
Photo by James and Karla Photography.
Seaview Hospital was once the largest tuberculosis sanatorium in the country, now listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is also a U.S. Historic District and New York City landmark. The historic district, which was developed next to the Staten Island Farm Colony, includes 37 buildings planned and developed between 1905 and 1938. The NYC.gov website for the Sea View Hospital Rehabilitation Center & Home gives no indication of the surrounding abandonment, but indeed a few organizations have returned to operate from within the grounds, including a rehab center, volunteer firefighting organization and volunteer ambulance service. The photographic team of f/11 recently took a visit inside the crumbling remains of the Children’s Hospital at Seaview, as well as the underground tunnels beneath the main building, and shared with us their photos.
12. The Queensway
11. Admirals Row at Brooklyn Navy Yard
The fabled Admirals Row saw partial demolition in Jan 2012 but you can still see the two last townhouses and crumbling manufacturing buildings, along with active work spaces. Read about what’ll happen to the yards.
Photo by Will Ellis.
Quite possibly the smallest diner in NYC, its wedged between two buildings. Empty since 2006, the chrome and green diner is now canvased with graffiti. See more.
Photo by Diana Huang for Untapped Cities
Having served as both land dump and horse rendering plant, Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn is dotted with bottles, horse bones, abandoned boats, and vintage nicknacks including creepy toys and old hand guns. See more.
8. Abandoned Trolley Cars near the Beard Street Warehouses, Red Hook
The city’s only remaining commercial marine salvage yard is located on Staten Island. Wear good shoes and explore are your own risk. Some pictures of the amazing place.
Formerly, Fort Tilden was a nuclear-armed beach that protected New York City with canons, Nike, Ajax & Hercules missiles. It’s now an explorer’s heaven of crumbling buildings and battlements. See more.
Castles? In New York? Why, yes! The ruins of Bannerman’s Island are a must, built by the Bannerman family as a warehouse facility for a military surplus business in 1901. Get there by boat or kayak, tours available.
Sign up to be notified when our tour of Bannerman Island returns!
Passageway around an open air circular courtyard as seen on the Untapped Cities Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Ellis Island Hospital. Photo by James and Karla Photography.
Hiding in plain sight, the abandoned South Side Hospitals on Ellis Island were one of the largest public health undertakings in US history. While Ellis Island has become one of New York City’s top tourist attractions, drawing over two million visitors per year, the 22-building South Side hospital complex is hidden in plain sight, just to the left of disembarking passengers headed towards the Great Hall.
After immigration restriction laws shut down Ellis Island as a port of entry, the complex was left to decay for nearly 60 years. Looking at its desolate, skeletal frame now, it’s difficult to imagine that it was once the standard for United States medical care and one of the largest public health undertakings in American history. See more photographs of the amazing buildings and crumbling interiors.
Seven miles north of the Manhattan stands the ruin of the Glenwood/Yonkers power station, once associated with the New York Central and Hudson River Railroads. Interior demolition has begun, with plans to convert it into a hotel and conference center. See photos from 2012 and 2013.